Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has maintained that Special Envoy to China Ramon Tulfo should realize that he should promote and protect the best interests of the Filipino people, and not this administration’s Chinese patrons.
De Lima, who chairs the Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development, said Tulfo obviously failed to realize that he owes his power to the same group of people he chose to insult and ridicule.
“Instead of firing Mon Tulfo, Malacañang defends him as a public official entitled to his own opinion. This is the usual response of Malacañang to insults and offensive remarks of Duterte copycats in government,” she said.
“These Duterte wannabes may be entitled to their own opinions. But as long as they are being paid by Filipino taxpayers, they have no right insulting Filipinos,” she added in her recent Dispatch from Crame No. 483. . The former justice secretary pressed anew her call for Tulfo to step down from his post if he cannot apologize over his insulting remarks generalizing Filipino construction workers as lazy and slowpokes.
“If Mon Tulfo cannot stop insulting Filipinos or apologize for his offensive and baseless remarks against them, he should just resign. Otherwise, he would just be another free-loader with nothing to show for his plum government position,” she said.
Tulfo drew flak after claiming that Chinese employees “are better” than their Filipino counterparts even as he defended the influx of Chinese workers in the country in an interview with CNN Philippines’ “On the Record” last March 7.
Amid nationwide criticisms, Tulfo still stood by his opinion and further tweeted insults last March 9 that read: “Why should I apologize to you for telling the truth that you’re basically lazy and a slowpoke?”
Instead of firing Tulfo for his unwarranted remark, Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo even defended the former broadcaster and newspaper columnist as a public official entitled to his own opinion.
The lady Senator from Bicol reminded Tulfo that he is no longer a newspaper columnist, and that is why he should always be able to distinguish between his private persona and his public position.
“We could have let this pass if it was only Mon Tulfo the columnist talking. After all, we were already used to his blunt language as an opinionated observer who specialized in anecdotal wisdom,” she said.
“But this is already Mon Tulfo the Special Envoy to China, talking. This is already the public official, who draws his salary from government funds, funds that come from taxes paid by the same workers he attacks and vilifies as lazy,” she added.
De Lima also reminded Tulfo that his position as Special Envoy to China requires him to advance Filipino interests, and not defend the Chinese takeover of Philippine jobs. Last year, De Lima filed Senate Resolution No. 751 pressing for a Senate inquiry into the influx of Chinese nationals employed and residing in the Philippines which, among others, steals jobs away from ordinary Filipinos.